UX Storyboard Design: An Ultimate Guide for Product Owners in 2023

Mar 16, 2023

A UX storyboard design in simple terms is a visual representation of the whole user story. This concept goes back to as late as the 1930s when Disney first implemented this concept in their cartoon films. Since then, it has been constantly used in the film industry to make interesting stories. This kind of story explains the whole process to the user with the help of visuals. UX storyboarding contains all the features that a good user journey should have. 

In a survey done by Nielsen Norman Group, Majority UX designers use a storyboard design as their number one tool. Because they know it would be a waste of effort to work on a project if users don’t like it at first. 

In this article, we will talk about all the things that cover a wide number of tactics to help create your UX storyboard design. You will also learn how to draw a digital storyboard through your own imagination just like experts do. Don’t worry as you will not be bombarded with tons of information at once, we will go with one at a time. 

To start with, first, we will discuss factors that could prove to be your only solution. However, keep in mind that creating such experiences takes more than you can imagine, but smart work is always worth it. 

Without further ado, let’s just jump right into it. 

What is a UX Storyboard Design?

What is UX Storyboard Design
What is UX Storyboard Design?

A UX storyboard is the first thing that designers have to consider when building a storyboard design from scratch. A storyboard predefines the tasks users have to perform during their user journey. Every user action is contemplated in detail to make their experience smoother than ever. 

Storyboard design consists of visuals mostly to make usage somewhat fun and also to make things understandable. Because majority of people love to visualize thing and conceive information visually.

Designers are often exposed to the challenge of accommodating users according to their individual capacities. That is why writing a storyboard often gets a prolonged task as makers are required to learn all aspects of user behavior. There are no shortcuts to a successful design, as designers have to act like authors to create the user story.

Every protagonist of the story is the user, and designers have to plan their roles and functionalities. Sometimes, a few tasks seem unachievable at first, but as initial proceedings are done the whole picture starts to flow. 

However, there is a complete storyboard format that has to be followed to meet high international standards. There are various technicalities that can’t be seen from above, therefore, going to the depth becomes necessary. You must understand the user journey in a complete sense before making one.

It is said that 71% of professionals use digital storyboard tools to include creative ideas in their products. That is a huge number and very soon it can touch the 100% mark. 

Understanding a Complete UX Storyboard Design

UX storyboarding is a useful technique to learn how users behave when using your product. It helps in many factors and saves you a number of times from spending money on a product that shouldn’t be launched. There are other benefits too, but discussing all of them will be hectic. So, we will keep short a couple of examples:

UX Storyboard Design
SB7 Framework

Why A Storyboard Is Used?

The storyboard design is used for creating a whole user story from start to finish. The roles and responsibilities that come in between these two, make up the entire body of the UX storyboard design. 

Let’s learn every module of an SB7 framework with the UX storyboarding process:

  1. Character

First, there is a confused character who is surrounded by a ton of problems and has no idea where to begin. Just like your users would behave when they are first introduced to your product. But, as the story progresses, things start to get out of the blur, which means users start to get familiarized with the product. 

  1. Gets Stuck in a Problem

As the story progresses say when a  user discovers various features then they are very likely to be stuck in a problem. This problem they have probably never faced before, and then starts the real quest. That is why the UX storyboard design exists to help designers create suitable solutions for users. 

  1. Meeting the Mentor

The words of Mary Jane ‘Everyone needs help, even spiderman’ still ring in the ears of many. It meant that the main character means the user feels the need for assistance at some point in time. You as a storyboard maker are the mentor of your users, and no one can guide them better but you. 

  1. Plan Provider

Heroes may have all the strength and all, but they can’t use their minds to the fullest. For that, there has to be a person who can make a plan to fight off the problem. You can be that guide to your users who can help them understand the complex functions of your product. 

  1. Action Time

The most important aspect of the UX storyboard design is knowing when to take action. Just like a hero executes the plans successfully, you may guide your users to get help from the tactics you have asked them to. 

  1. Character Transformation

When the movie character completes a certain mission, or in your case when the user accomplishes the task, then there comes a big change in their overall character. Now, they are seen as more sophisticated users with some knowledge and expertise. 

  1. Successful Ending

After going through a long and tiring journey, the hero (user) can finally take a sigh of relief. You have also played your role and provided them with sufficient information that helped them change their perspective. 

This SB7 formula beautifully explains the whole UX storyboard design and gives clear emphasis on the most important modules. 

User Journey 

User Journey
User Journey

We understand the user journey by the example of a specific person using a certain design system. A perfect storyboard design is one that has the capacity to accommodate all user queries. The design system has to be smooth enough to not make the users feel like they are interacting with an alien system. In fact, it must contain functionalities like

  • Design Language
  • Component Library
  • Style Guide
  • Emphasis
  • Movement

Together these functionalities contribute to the smooth onboarding process that users want. 

A user journey is a whole distance the user has to cover to fulfill their tasks. The objectives can be full of variations and mostly depends upon the nature of the task. For example, if a user wants to signup for a shopping portal, then they will have to put in all their personal details. Now, some people hesitate to give out their credit/debit card details along with their home address and other stuff. Most UX storyboards can be confusing and only adds to the fury where users are left with no clue. That’s just one example of a bad UX storyboard design. 

How to Create a UX Storyboard Design

How to Create UX Storyboard Design
How to Create a UX Storyboard Design

There are different storyboard formats for different applications, but all of them must follow similar standards. First, you have to find out what kind of design system you want to create. If it’s a mobile application, then you will have to look at the mobile standards and also take into account IOS and Android platforms. 

The quality of a good UX storyboard design is it can support even the most complex of stories. No matter how complicated the storyline, a user has to be able to get it in the first instant. A good app storyboard template is flexible enough and can cover any story at length. Users with various understandings can also try to visualize the story in their own capacity. A simple storyboard sends out productivity both ways at the maker’s and as well as at the user’s ends. 

There are various techniques for creating a perfect UX storyboard, and we will discuss a few of them here:  

 Identify the problem to be solved

Identifying the real problem is the first step in coming up with a plan that lays the foundations of the UX storyboard. You have to learn about users’ wishes and research what they want. Normally users want a story that has something to offer. So, what you need to include in your storyboard is the triggering factor that has the power to attract users. 

Types of Problems

  • Visual Consistency
  • Image Translation
  • Creativity
  • Meeting tight deadlines

Research and Gather User Data 

We will discuss users’ wants in a little bit of detail and will explore the possible reasons which attract or detract from them. There are some points that we will talk about;

  • Emotional Goals

The use of visuals in storyboarding catches users’ interest instantly because images are easier to process as compared to words.  Now, the images have to be emotionally appealing and cool to the eyes. 

  • Memorable Designs

A design becomes an unforgettable one when it is untraditional and that unique concept is saved in the user’s mind. You need a sound level of understanding to find one unique point from many intricacies. 

  • Sketch the storyboard 

After setting up the whole platform, now you have to start with the main thing. It is important to know the nature of the UX storyboard that you need to create. Because you have to choose from a number of types and have to select the appropriate one. The storyboard design that fits the story can help with quick progress.  

Refine and Finalize the Storyboard

  • Traditional Storyboard 

Creating traditional storyboards is the easiest as it only requires a pencil and paper to get started. It is a cheap way to put your ideas in a visual form and get feedback from concerned people. The process is quick and can instantly tell you where your ideas stand. Coming up with different ideas and strategies gets a very easy task as your mind would be open to all kinds of imaginations. 

Developing such storyboards is the key to a successful first step, then you can quickly move on to further stages. On-paper sketches are meant to be really simple, and should not be made too complicated. Keep in mind that, you must not deviate from the path of simpler stories as going too complex will eliminate the purpose. 

A great UX storyboard design should have sound foundations and must have passed through hundreds of revisions. A totally filtered form of the story helps in the product’s success and all the success factors are uncovered at once.

There are many design forms that have to be cleaned to bring out the beautiful end picture. By picture, we mean the story traits that it holds. A clean user story with almost no hindrances will help in attracting users like a magnet. 

  • Thumbnail Storyboard

A very sophisticated type of UX design storyboard is the thumbnail storyboard. It is a series of small images just the size of your thumbnail that is a really quick way of representing an overview of the story. Thumbnails are very efficient and help the designers begin the process. It has many forms and each one has a uniqueness of its own. 

UX professionals use thumbnails to design the whole user journey to help them study all the possible user actions along the way. Like if a user has to use a mobile phone, then a designer would design all the related actions that a user could perform to achieve an objective.

Thumbnails provide a cutting-edge advantage over other methods as they explain all aspects of the story in a short time. Designers can use this favor to perform efficiently and prepare a kind of story that users could never stop craving. 

The importance of thumbnails is undeniable in today’s design world, as they are convenient in a number of ways. As a good designer, you would always go for thumbnails because they help in producing a great UX storyboard design. 

  • Digital Storyboards

Modern designers dislike the idea of traditional storyboarding, so, they have shifted to new ways. Digital Storyboards are like all the other UX storyboard designs but in a digital form. Designers don’t use pen and paper as they only maneuver digital storyboard tools that help them work faster. They can provide more accurate and ready-made results to help designers take prompt decisions. This way, the designers require less time and also save a lot of the company’s resources and their own as well. 

Digital storyboarding maximizes the engagement level as it can also be shared on digital platforms. Digital interaction of the story brings in lots of people’s interests and it is beneficial for everyone who is involved directly or indirectly. 

All UX storyboard designs do have something in common, and that common thing interlinks them with each other. For example, digital and traditional storyboard designs have the ability to create smooth user stories. The stories also include all the actions that a user is likely to take during the whole process. Storyboard makers enjoy the unending benefits of digital designs that they are able to produce through digital means. 

Effective UX storyboard Designs Tools

We have some uncountable examples of great UX storyboard designs such as that of Apple. Apple have made massive contributions to making user stories as easy as ABC. The tech world is full of success stories and we will discuss the most highlighted ones here. 

Apple Storyboard

When we ask the users of  Apple about their experience, they would define their whole story in one glance. That means Apple has learned all about user behavior and knows what is going to work best. Simply put, Apple does all the product storyboarding before launching, and that’s how they earn positive reviews. 

Their other products such as iPhones and Apple smart watches also provide an unparalleled user experience. Maybe that is why it is impossible for Apple users to switch to other brands. 

Tips For A Successful UX Storyboard Design

You ought to know some useful storyboarding tips that will benefit you in the long run. In your journey, there comes instances when you feel like you want to quit with the design or start all over. There must be a proper guide that could save you from wasting your time and efforts. Therefore, you must give this section a thorough read so you may not miss useful information. 

Data Gathering

The first and most important step is collecting the data, on which your whole user story will base. It can be a time-consuming task as you need lots of data initially if you want to make a valuable story. Creating a storyboard with rich content means a step-by-step depiction of each scene cleanly. 

While collecting the data, you must look for the related one only, as irrelevant data can create confusion. To save yourself from the confusion, you should only go for the data that you feel can help you with your story. Your story can be of any type, so always try to find one which totally complies with your story. 

It is always good to carry out research on uncommon channels, as you are likely to find uncommon ideas there. Since fewer people know the correct tactics, you have to explore things on your own rather than relying on others. The key again rests in your hands how do you handle your story? 

Starting With a Clear Mind

Before beginning to draw, all the concepts of the user journey should be crystal clear. You ought to know the pros and cons of certain actions and should be aware of all kinds of outcomes. 

You can never start with your UX storyboard design unless you have one thing in focus. When thinking of a design, you can look at ideas and take inspiration, but don’t copy the whole strategy. Your positive approach will boost your thinking power which will eventually lead to the creation of attractive designs. 

Use of Colors

Colors should be based on user preferences according to the nature of the product. For example, if it’s a food product, then colors should be adequate enough to crave hunger. The color combinations contribute to User Experience, which let them consider buying the product. 

The importance of colors can be understood by the fact that they give meaning to the product. Colors give identity to the products and we differentiate things on the basis of colors. 


Let others decide what they think of your creation, cause, in the end, you created it for them. This feedback allows you to bring more productive changes and refine them further. 

With no adequate feedback, chances of success are diminished as you have no idea how it is going to perform. Knowing the thoughts of people is important and you have to find out ways to have a better reach for testing purposes. 


There have to be many iterations for a UX storyboard as each time it will have a better story to tell. The better the story, the brighter the chances of increased traffic and eventually conversions. 

Creating the flow of the story is a daunting task, and you may need to work through hundreds of ideas. True expertise lies in extracting the information that is most suitable for the nature of your story. Oftentimes, things as little as picking the line that sets the whole tone to take days to identify. To cater to this, you need to start testing different pieces of the story and try to find relevance in combinations. When you have lots of closely related combinations, try further filtering by matching various parts. UX storyboard design flow will come into play as you proceed. 

Create The Storyboard

Finally, you have come to the main step, but you had to go through a lot of struggles in the previous stages. If you have done the steps provided above in the correct manner, then you have laid solid foundations for your UX storyboard design. Now, there are little chances of failure but you still have to keep re-testing the story to eliminate the errors. 

There just can never be a hundred percent perfection in your storyboard design, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Working towards achieving better results each time has to be your only end goal. 

No matter if you go with the traditional approach or the digital one, you know your game either way. The kind of support you get from the ideas gives you an unprecedented advantage of using the same story background in a number of unique ways. 

Final Takeaways

UX storyboard design isn’t that hard to create if you have the right kind of dedication. You must have seen that it is difficult to retain the ideas, so you have to write them down on the spot. An idea is the beginning of the whole UX storyboard design and you need to extract the golden spots of the idea for implementation. 

The rule says to look at all the possible dimensions before finalizing your story. You must make sure you shouldn’t miss on any elements as users dislike broken stories that are not relatable. That also means you lose the value and as well as trust you have gained after so much struggle. We would recommend you have a complete UX audit before you take any final decision. 

You are required to perform all the jobs in parallel and of course, go with the flow. You will figure out different stuff along the way.